Kodak No. 3A Folding Brownie
Kodak No. 3A Folding Brownie

…the Eastman Kodak Company was one of the most influential photographic companies of all time.  Pioneering the earliest forms of photographic film, they introduced the world to a dizzying array of inexpensive folding and box cameras like this No. 3A Folding Brownie from 1909.  Despite their vast number of cameras, Kodak was always a film first camera, selling new models as a means to get more people to buy film.

Berning Robot
Berning Robot

…the Robot series of cameras by the Robot Berning Company remain one of the most highly sought after and unique cameras ever made.  Offering an extremely compact, but high quality body that shoots 24mm x 24mm square photos on regular 35mm film, all Robots featured a motorized clockwork film advance, a rotary shutter, interchangeable lens mount, and a series of high quality lenses, making them very interesting cameras to both collect and shoot.

Kodak Retina
Kodak Retina

…the Kodak Retina was developed by a man named Dr. August Nagel after the Eastman Kodak Company purchased Nagel’s own Nagel Camera-Werke company in 1931.  Nagel was one of the most successful German camera designers of the time, previously working for Zeiss-Ikon and Contessa-Nettel.  The Retina was the world’s first camera designed for Kodak’s then new format of 35mm ‘miniature’ film.

Certo Super Sport Dolly
Certo Super Sport Dolly

…Germany was the undisputed leader of camera manufacturing in the early 20th century.  Prior to WWII, there were a large number of companies like Certo who produced a large number of high quality “nickel and leather” cameras like these Super Sport Dollies.  Most early German cameras had a high quality leaf shutter like the Compur, and lenses made by one of Germany’s many excellent optics companies like Zeiss, Schneider, or Meyer-Optik.

Canonflex R2000
Canonflex R2000

…the Canonflex R2000 was an update to the original Canonflex from 1959 which was Canon’s first 35mm SLR.  It was designed as a professional level camera that would complete with the Nikon F.  It was a very solidly built camera and improved on the Nikon with a hinged back and a top 1/2000 shutter speed, but it’s curious omission of a motor drive attachment, a bottom wind film advance lever, and an extremely poor lens selection upon it’s release doomed it from the start.

Kodak Ektra
Kodak Ektra

…the Kodak Ektra was Kodak’s answer to a disruption of professional 35mm cameras from Germany at the start of WWII.  It was a top of the line camera with innovative features like an adjustable varifocal viewfinder, interchangeable film backs, and a lens selection made up of the best that the Eastman Kodak Corporation could offer.  It sold for $300 back in 1941 and remains a popular collector’s item today.

Barnack Leica
Barnack Leica

…the original Leica camera wasn’t designed as an actual camera, but as a 35mm cinema film tester.  In 1913, it’s creator Oskar Barnack was working on a 35mm motion picture camera for Leitz, and needed a way to calibrate the shutter speeds based on the film stocks he had available.  He built a single frame film tester that would expose a single image on 35mm film to get an idea of it’s exposure.  It would be another 10 years before the company saw the potential for this device to be made as an actual camera.

Voigtländer Superb
Voigtländer Superb

…first released in 1933, the Voigtländer Superb was the company’s entry into the medium format Twin Lens Reflex market.  Designed to compete with Franke & Heidecke’s successful Rolleiflex line, the Superb offered a number of unique innovations such as automatic parallax correction, horizontal film transport, and a bottom mounted focus control arm.

Nikon Rangefinders
Nikon Rangefinders

…Nikon was originally formed in 1917 as Nippon Kogaku K.K. or Japanese Optical Company in English.  Nikon’s earliest years were devoted almost exclusively to developing products for the Japanese military.  Their first consumer goods were not released until after WWII, and the company did not officially drop the Nippon Kogaku name until 1988.

Olympus XA2
Olympus XA2

…Designed by famed Olympus designer Maitani Yoshihisa the Olympus XA2 is a camera whose reputation precedes itself.  This is a very well known and very highly regarded camera for a reason.  Perhaps the best characteristic of the camera is that it offers some of the simplicity of a 1980s point and shoot camera, in a very small package, with an excellent lens and meter, but with the control and speed of a manual focus camera.  The entire XA series are highly sought after by collectors and photographers alike for good reason.

Bell & Howell Foton
Bell & Howell Foton

…the Bell & Howell Foton was the company’s first attempt at a still camera, and was aimed at the professional photographer.  It’s signature feature was a mechanical wind up film advance that could fire the shutter as fast as 4 exposures per second.  It came with a top of the line Cooke Amotal 50mm f/2 lens made by Taylor, Taylor, & Hobson of England and when it first went on sale in 1948, it had a retail price of $700 making it one of the most expensive cameras ever made.

Miranda Sensorex
Miranda Sensorex

…at one point in time, the Miranda Sensorex was seen as a viable low cost option to pro cameras like the Nikon F and Topcon RE Super.  Although it shared a similar feature set, and an available selection of excellent lenses, quality control proved to be the company’s undoing.  The Sensorex was in production for nearly 6 years and was one of the company’s biggest successes prior to their failure.

Mercury II
Mercury II

…the Universal Mercury series was a very innovative and distinct line of cameras produced by the Universal Camera Corp of New York between 1938 and the early 1950s.  It featured a rotary shutter that had a top speed of 1/1000.  It had an interchangeable lens mount and a hot shoe making for a compelling low cost option for the professional photographer on a budget.

Olympus Pen F
Olympus Pen F

…Olympus re-introduced half frame 35mm cameras with the original Pen in 1959.  This started a huge trend of half frame cameras released by almost every manufacturer in the 1960s.  Despite the competition, Olympus topped them all with their Olympus Pen F SLR.  The smaller size of the exposed image meant the camera could have a sideways mirror and pentaprism inside of the body decreasing the overall size, while still maintaining all of the benefits of an SLR.

Anscomark M
Anscomark M

…many cameras made over the last century cross over between multiple companies.  The Anscomark M was an interchangeable lens 35mm rangefinder sold and marketed by the American company ANSCO, but was built by the Japanese company Riken, in exchange for photocopier technology owned by ANSCO’s German parent company, GAF.  The resulting camera turned out to be one of the most distinctive looking cameras ever!

Welcome

Welcome to my site.  My name is Mike Eckman and I’ve been running this site for a few years without any predefined direction for what kind of content would be here.  In late 2014, I had a “re-discovery” of film cameras which took off into directions I never could have imagined.  I grew a collection of film cameras made in nearly every decade of the 20th century and started reviewing them. 

This entire site is maintained entirely by me and hosted by Bluehost.  Every review and article was written by me using mostly cameras from my personal collection.  A small number of reviews were written about cameras that were loaned to me by other collectors.  I often source my factual information from other sites on the Internet and I do my best to provide credit wherever I can.

If you have any questions, comments, corrections, or criticism of anything on this site, I’d love to hear from you!

Newest Posts

Everything from the latest vintage camera review, a Keppler's Vault blast from the past, or some other camera related article, it's all here in reverse chronological order.
Mimosa II (1949)
This review is part of the Cameras of the Dead series which I have been publishing every year on Halloween and "Halfway to" Halloween, featuring three cameras that I've wanted...
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OPL Foca PF3 (1953)
This review is part of the Cameras of the Dead series which I have been publishing every year on Halloween and "Halfway to" Halloween, featuring three cameras that I've wanted...
Read More "OPL Foca PF3 (1953)"
Sovietcams.com Official Mirror
Earlier this week, Aidas Pikiotas, the owner of the excellent Soviet camera site, SovietCAMS.com announced he would be taking the site offline before the end of the year. Aidas first...
Read More "Sovietcams.com Official Mirror"
Fex Ultra Fex (1947)
This review is part of the Cameras of the Dead series which I have been publishing every year on Halloween and "Halfway to" Halloween, featuring three cameras that I've wanted...
Read More "Fex Ultra Fex (1947)"
Recommended Reading 10/23/20
This week's featured post is both funny, but also an accurate review of the Canon AE-1, a camera that seems to cause two very different and very strong opinions depending...
Read More "Recommended Reading 10/23/20"
The Rotoloni Report 5: More Nikon Prototypes
Earlier this year I visited Robert at his home and we had an extensive conversation about Nikon rangefinder prototypes.  I was particularly interested in the Nikon SP2 and SPX as...
Read More "The Rotoloni Report 5: More Nikon Prototypes"
Canon T90 (1986)
This review is part of the Cameras of the Dead series which I have been publishing every year on Halloween and "Halfway to" Halloween, featuring three cameras that I've wanted...
Read More "Canon T90 (1986)"
Voigtländer Perkeo II (1952)
This is a Voigtländer Perkeo II, a folding medium format camera produced by Voigtländer AG Braunschweig of West Germany between the years 1952 and 1955.  The Perkeo was a mid-level...
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Featured Guides

These how-to guides were written in an attempt to help the novice collector start a collection, use it, and what to do when things go wrong.
Reloading Instamatic Film (The Better Way)
The Eastman Kodak Company's daylight loading 35mm film cassette made it's debut in 1934.  With the release of the first Retina camera, Kodak's type 135 film format took the world...
Read More "Reloading Instamatic Film (The Better Way)"
What Is My Camera Worth?
As a member of the Vintage Camera Collectors group on Facebook, the most common "new member" post is from someone who in one way or another, has acquired an old...
Read More "What Is My Camera Worth?"
The Outdoor Eight Rule – Metering without a Meter for Beginners
Whether you are new to shooting film or are a grizzled veteran, you've likely heard someone mention a fundamental rule of photography called "The Sunny 16 Rule". The Sunny 16...
Read More "The Outdoor Eight Rule – Metering without a Meter for Beginners"
Breathing New Life into Old Cameras
I made my first old camera post in August 2014.  At that time, I had no idea where this hobby would take me.  I already had an interest in digital...
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Contact Me

If you would like to contact me about a review on this site, or a question you have about a particular camera, use this form.

I likely won’t have any useful information about a camera if I haven’t already reviewed it.  I only have experience with models in my own personal collection.  I do accept donations, but if you are looking to sell your camera, you’ll get more money by selling it on eBay than I’d likely pay you for it.  I am a notorious cheapskate!

Alternatively, I can also be reached on Facebook and Instagram at the Mike Eckman dot Com official pages:

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